Carey Boucher Erasmus is always my go-to person when I am looking for something quick, easy and economical for lunch or supper. Her bakes are just so innovative and fun. This dish is made for Chenin Blanc.
Easy Chicken Biryani
1 T (15 ml) garam masala
1 T (15 ml) biryani masala
2 t (10 ml) turmeric
2 T (30 ml) vegetable oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
Handful coriander leaves, chopped
+- 650 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large cubes
1 c (250 ml) brown basmati rice or long grain rice, cooked al dente.
Pinch of saffron, soaked in hot water – or boil rice with 1 ½ t(7 ml) turmeric
1 c (250 ml) brown lentils, cooked for 15 minutes
2 small potatoes or sweet potatoes (optional), cut into small cubes and boiled in salted water until tender
2 onions, chopped
1 T (15 ml) vegetable oil
2 t (10 ml) grated ginger
1 T (15 ml) crushed garlic
6 curry leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 ripe tomatoes, grated
2 T (30 ml) chutney
Salt and lemon juice to taste
+- 100 g diced butter
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Combine the marinade ingredients and coat the chicken well with the mixture. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Fork the soaked saffron through the warm cooked basmati rice.
Heat a large heavy based frying pan and fry the marinated chicken in batches over high heat until sealed and nicely browned. Set aside. Do not cook all the way through.
In the same pan, fry the onions over moderate heat in a little oil until soft and aromatic. Stir in the ginger, garlic, curry leaves and cinnamon sticks.
Add the tomatoes and chutney and simmer for +- 2 minutes to develop the flavours. Season to taste with salt and lemon.
Add the chicken back to the pan together with the cooked potatoes and coat well in the pan mixture.
In a buttered medium baking dish, layer half the rice. ½ the lentils and all the chicken mixture then top with remaining lentils followed by rice.
Embed cubes of butter into the rice and cover with foil (shiny side towards the food) and bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve: with medium to hard-boiled eggs, crispy fried onions and cucumber raita. I enjoy biryani with freshly sliced banana and extra chutney too.
Replace chicken with cubed yellowtail fillet for a delish fish biryani.
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Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.
She says, “As far as I can remember, I loved being in the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother in wonder as she prepared a myriad of dishes on any given day. And when my grandmother baked, I would be the official bowl licker. I even owned a mini wooden oven and stove set and always imagined myself being a chef while “cooking up” pots of mud and grass.
When I was old enough to reach the real stove and sink, I started cooking and experimenting – from dodgy rubbery microwave chocolate cake to edible and sometimes rather delicious meals. I loved home-economics in high school and even joined a “catering society”.
After matric, I studied Food science and Nutrition at Cape Technikon where I specialised in recipe, product development, nutrition and food communication (styling, food demonstrating etc.). In my final year, I graduated with 8 distinctions and achieved the title of Class valedictorian which I was pretty chuffed about. I was ready to go out into the food industry!”
Do follow her on her website – http://bitsofcarey.co.za